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Parashat Shemot

Updated on January 10, 2018

Shemot 1:1-6:1

“And these are the names of the children of Yisra’EL who came to Mitzrayim with Ya’aqov, each one with his household: Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehudah; Yissachar, Zebulun, and Binyamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. And all those who were descendants of Ya’aqov were seventy beings, as Yoseph was already in Mitzrayim. And Yoseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.” (Shemot 1:1-6)

The next generations of Ya’aqov became even more populous, and the new Pharaoh became threatened by the numbers of the Yisra’EL-ites. Upon the Pharaoh's orders, slave masters were set over the Yisra’EL-ites, and the children of Yisra’EL became slaves, to suffer in bondage to the Pharaoh. Soon, the Pharaoh spoke to two midwives- Shiphrah and Pu’ah and commanded that when they deliver the babies of the women of Yisra’EL, according to male or female, they should kill the male infants while letting the female infants live. However, Shiphrah and Pu’ah did not do as they were commanded, and the Pharaoh then ordered all the male babies to be thrown into the river.

Amram, a Levite (Shemot 6:20), married Yocheved, the daughter of a Levite (Shemot 6:20), and they conceived a son, whom Yocheved kept hidden for three months, at which time, Yocheved set the baby in a basket coated with tar and pitch and set the basket upon the waters of the river. The baby’s sister, Miryam (Shemot 15:20), watched from afar to discern what might happen to her baby brother. It came to be that the basket with the baby inside floated near to the Pharaoh’s daughter, who showed a great compassion for the wee babe, and took him as her own son, and named him Mosheh, meaning, “to pull or draw out [of water]”.

Some years later, Mosheh left his place with his [Mitzrayim] mother, and discovers the hardships that had befallen his Hebrew brothers. He happened upon a Mistrian (a slave master) striking a Hebrew man. Mosheh killed the Mistrian and hid the body in the sand. The following day, Mosheh left his place with his [Mitzrayim] mother yet again, and happened upon two Hebrew men fighting. When Mosheh admonished the two men, the men revealed that they had witnessed what Mosheh had done the previous day. When the Pharaoh heard about the death of his Mistrian, he sought to kill Mosheh; but, Mosheh fled from Mitzrayim into the land of Midyan. It was at a well in Midyan that Mosheh rescued the daughters of Yithro from some marauding shepherds, and afterward married one of Yithro’s daughters, Tzipporah, which means “beauty”. Mosheh became a shepherd for his father-in-law, Yithro.

One day, while Mosheh is out with the sheep, he came to Horeb, the mountain of Elohim (Shemot 3:1). It was here that יהוה appeared to Mosheh in the flames of a bush, a bush that was consumed with fire but was not consumed. יהוה commanded Mosheh to go to the Pharaoh and bring the Yisra’EL-ites out of Mitzrayim. When Mosheh questioned יהוה as to a name he is to give to the children of Yisra’EL, Elohim responded, “I am that which I am. Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’EL, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ Thus you are to say to the children of Yisra’EL, ‘יהוה Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitzhaq, and the Elohim of Ya’aqov, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and this is My remembrance to all generations.’” (Shemot 3:14-15). When Mosheh argues every excuse that he can think of to not be the one who would stand before the Pharaoh to demand such a thing from the Pharaoh, יהוה decrees that Mosheh’s brother, Aharon, shall be the spokesperson for the words that יהוה would speak to Mosheh. In Mitzrayim, Mosheh and Aharon assembled the elders of the children of Yisra’EL, and all the people believed that their redemption had finally come.

However, the Pharaoh exclaims, “Who is יהוה, that I should obey His voice to let Yisra’EL go? I do not know יהוה, nor am I going to let Yisra’EL go.” (Shemot 5:2), and the Pharaoh increased the burdens of the children of Yisra’EL.

Mosheh protests to יהוה, “Why have You done evil to this people? Why did You send me? For ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he has done evil to this people. And You have not delivered Your people at all.” (Shemot 5:22-23). To which יהוה speaks to Mosheh, “Now see what I do to Pharaoh, for with a strong hand he is going to let them go, and with a strong hand he is going to drive them of of his land.” (Shemot 6:1).

What does this mean for Believers today

I’d like to type some song lyrics for you, lyrics that explain our crossing over, our becoming Hebrew, like our Hebrew achot ve achoti (brothers and sisters) who themselves crossed over from bondage in Mitzrayim to freedom in the Promised Land. We, too, have crossed over from a life of slavery to sin to become obedient in the freedom of יהוה by His Son Yeshua ha-Meshiach and with the leading guidance of Ruach HaKodesh.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound.

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost; but, now I’m found.

Was blind; but, now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear.

And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come.

‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

יהוה has promised good to me.

His Word my hope secures;

He will my Shield and Portion be,

As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But, יהוה, who called me here below,

Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing יהוה praise

Than when we first begun.

Reference

The Scriptures, 2009 Edition. (2014). Republic of South Africa: Institute For Scripture, South Africa.

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